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Martial Arts Injury – Assistance of all Martial Artists Required

In the last few seconds of the last round on the Saturday 12th December, Haydn Clasby from Submission Martial Arts (NZ) suffered a serious injury to his neck. This injury was sustained in a controlled BJJ environment and was a freak accident.

Haydn broke one of his vertebrae in his neck and damaged his C5, C6, C7, he is paralysed from the shoulders down at present. At the end of this week they will operate and put a plate into his neck.

At the moment the Doctors are providing worst-case scenario information to us, but due to the complexity of the injury it is going to be a wait and see. So as we all sit here with all our fingers and toes crossed, the initiative has been taken and an account has been opened in Haydn’s name at Kiwi Bank.

The aim of this account is to provide funds towards the costs of Haydn’s recovery and to help his partner Gen and family as they take extensive time off work to support Haydn during his recovery.

Any contribution no matter how small would be greatly appreciated.

Following are the account details for anyone wanting to contribute.

Haydn Recovery – M E McDonald
38 9000 0109787 02

Neil Swailes
Phone: 021459210

Cautionary note to Martial Artists:

I do not know the circumstances of the injury described by Neil above – it is described as a controlled but freak accident and that is the way we must view it and we must all hope Haydn recovers fully, and we all wish him well. I hope some can contribute to help his family as Neil requests.
But we can also learn from it, so that we might prevent similar injuries happening again. The comments below are made independently with this recent accident merely serving as a catalyst to help keep others safe.

For many years I have told my students that a broken arm, leg, finger, nose is unfortunate but it will repair. But if you damage your neck you risk damaging everything. Nothing is worth the risk of having a permanent and potentially debilitating injury.
If you are a martial artist and you find yourself in a hold that may damage your neck….tap off immediately. Lose this fight so you get a chance to win the next fight.

If you are the person applying the hold…..and you feel your opponent struggling to get free ……same applies. Do not risk permanently injuring a person for the sake of a win.

And if you are the referee……you need to make this decision for both of them.

Same goes for throwing techniques where a person lands awkwardly on the base of his neck. I have done this to a student some 25 years ago and he ended up in hospital paralysed for 2 days. Luckily it was soft tissue damage and he recovered fully….but this was my lesson that made me hypersensitive about neck injuries. It is not a good feeling having a student in hospital with a serious neck injury, let me tell you.
Last year I was overseas and was part of a group of very senior martial artists practicing techniques where a “flying headlock” was applied and this was taken to the ground. All it needed was for one of the combatants to land offline and the neck would break. I made my thoughts known and the reply comment was “If he breaks his neck, I get another student to practice on”. This is deplorable attitude from a senior instructor who should be looking after the welfare of his students.

Once again, we wish Haydn a speedy recovery and that we take this as a reminder to look after our spinal and other vital systems. It also highlights why all martial artists need to have a current first aid certificate.

Please help if you can.

Dave Butler